You may know that I am a big fan of the website Politifact.com. Politifact is a non-partisan fact checking website that does it’s best to sort out the truth behind the statements of politicians, journalists and pundits. They recently did an article about the War Powers Resolution. The resolution limits a President’s power to engage in hostilities against another nation without congressional approval. You can read the article here. Politifact had a hard time coming to a concrete answer. Not surprisingly, the meaning of the War Powers Resolution, and its enforcment is a bit murky.
It limits the President from engaging in “hostilities” without congressional approval, but it doesn’t define hostilities. Experts seem to be split or undecided on the issue. I would enocourage you to read the article to try and form your own opinion. Politifact’s review of the situation is not what I wanted to talk about, but it is the backdrop. What I want to talk about is Politifact’s conduct regarding e-mails from readers.
I read the article about the War Powers Resolution. I’ve actually read a lot of what Politifact reviews. It is a top-knotch website when it comes to sorting out the truth. Their article on this issue left me with a couple of questions. So I took the opportunity to e-mail them. I wrote this:
“Your article on the War Powers act was interesting, I’m wondering why we are only talking about Libya? People are complaining about Obama’s actions in Libya violating the War Powers act, but since the Bush administration I believe, we have been striking Pakistan and targets in Yemen. Why are these not questioned? Also, since ratified treaties carry the weight of law are we not legally obligated to be a part of NATO actions? I would be interested in any information you can dig up on those questions. Thanks!”
I was hoping for at least some kind of answer, but not expecting much. A website like this gets many emails about various subjects. I was unbelievably surprised when, I kid you not, 1 hour and 13 minutes later I got this reply:
“It’s a good question we did not address in the story. I believe that the answer is that (1) actions to counter terrorists affiliated with Al Qaeda were approved in the post-9/11 resolution that green-lighted the Afghanistan War, and (2) no one in Congress seems to be making the argument that the president cannot pursue those actions.”
I couldn’t believe it. This was not a form letter reponse. It wasn’t a “Thank you for your interest,” auto reply. Someone had taken the time to read my question and provide an answer. I especially enjoyed that it was from a person who said, “I believe.” Obviously they hadn’t had the time to do detailed research into my question, but I was given a preliminary answer by a knowledgable person.
I wish to commend Politifact for this. Since it is becoming more evident that we cannot depend on the “news,” it is refreshing to see people who care about the truth and are willing to take the time to address an individual’s questions. Thank you Politifact.com.